COVID-19 has ushered in a wave of teacher retirements

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated teacher retirements. In the second half of 2020, over 3,200 teachers hung up their hats, according to a recent survey from the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS). That’s a 26% increase over the previous year. 

CalSTRS’ survey gives us a glimpse into their motivations. 62% of the 517 respondents said they were retiring earlier than they had initially planned. 56% cited the challenges of teaching during a pandemic. They were evenly split on whether they wanted to discontinue distance learning (35%) or whether they did not want to return to the classroom (35%).

The trend is not unique to California. States like Rhode IslandMichigan, and Alabama are also reporting an unprecedented number of teacher retirements.